Clemson University Honors College

Honors College announces 2024 Dixon Global Policy Scholars


Twelve Clemson students have been selected as Dixon Global Policy Scholars, a selective and intensive program for high-achieving Honors College students with a demonstrated interest in major national or global issues.

We’re excited to bring together this group of impressive scholars to discuss broader policy issues and their places in the world. They represent different areas of academic focus, but they all share an interest in deepening their understanding of major issues affecting our society and how they can contribute to building constructive solutions.


The 2024-25 class of scholars includes:

Katie Barfield
Katie Barfield, a Breakthrough Scholar from Chapin, South Carolina, is completing majors in both genetics and sociology.
Ellison Groves
Ellison Groves is a political science major from Summerville, South Carolina.  
Gretchen Highberger
Gretchen Highberger, a National Scholar from Betterndorf, Iowa, is a biosystems engineering major.
Carley Hitzelberger
Carley Hitzelberger, a National Scholar from Greenville, South Carolina, is a language and international health major (with a focus on Spanish).
Ava Minton
Ava Minton from Granville, Ohio, is completing majors in economics and management.
Briggs Murray
Briggs Murray, a National Scholar from Charleston, South Carolina, is completing majors in political science and history.
Nathaniel Oates
Nathaniel Oates from Irmo, South Carolina, is completing majors in both philosophy and computer science.
Tulsi Patel
Tulsi Patel, a National Scholar from Simpsonville, South Carolina, is a philosophy major, with an emphasis on medicine, health, and human values.
Abigail Pickrel
Abigail Pickrel is a general engineering major from Roebuck, South Carolina.
Jackson Strickland
Jackson Strickland is a political science major from Dayton, Maryland.
Mia Takvor
Mia Takvor is an economics major from Garden City, New York.
Bailee Tayles is an English major from Scottsdale, Arizona.

Dixon Global Policy Scholars take specialized courses with Fine and former Honors College Director William Lasser, where they explore global perspectives on politics, economics, philosophy and public policy. They also will participate in an intensive study abroad experience in France and Germany this summer.

During the trip, the scholars will visit and tour European institutions, important historic sites and museums, and meet with key policymakers, diplomats, academics and journalists.

The program also prepares scholars for major fellowship applications, with many previous Dixon GPS students winning national and international scholarship competitions. Two recent scholars, for example, became the University’s first recipients of the Rhodes and Churchill scholarship awards. According to Fine, the program’s interdisciplinary focus strengthens scholars’ applications for these opportunities by encouraging them to apply a new lens to their studies.

“Many of us discuss major policy issues through the lens of our field of expertise or our own experiences. Our scholars represent a variety of majors and have different perspectives to share about complex discussions about public policy,” said Fine. “As a result, they learn how an interdisciplinary approach can enrich public policy development and ensure solutions consider different needs and perspectives.”  

The program was created through an endowment from the Dixon family. Joseph E. Dixon (’39) and his wife Carolyn were active members of the Clemson family and their community.

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